5 Day Trips from Milan
Milan is the epicenter of Northern Italy. It’s a thriving metropolis known for its fashion houses and the New York-like work ethic of the businessmen and women that populate the capital of Lombardy.
While there are great works of art, culture, and incredible cuisine to experience to see while in Milan: The Last Supper, the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and various fashion museums, it’s also a great jump-off spot for day trips to some of the most sought-out locales of Italy.
Here are our top 5 day trips from Milan
1. Lake Como
We’re all familiar with Lake Como, thanks to George & Amal, and while it is a playground for the rich and famous, it’s a great day trip from Milan. Depending on where you want to go in Lake Como will determine your route. Most often, people will visit Como, Bellagio, or Varenna, each about an hour or under from Milan via train.
Each town has something unique to offer visitors, from museums to great food, and, of course, breathtaking views of the mountains and the lake. Some of the most popular activities for a day trip to Lake Como are boat tours, villa tours, and long, luxurious lunches. Villa d’Este is easily the most recognizable villa on the lake, as it’s become one of the most popular hotels. Visit the 25-acre garden and dine on-site, or check out one of the other picturesque villas offering daily tours.
With the Alps to the Northwest, Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region, has played an influential part in Italy’s history. As the to Juventus FC and the site of the 2006 Winter Olympics, this is a great destination for sports fans.
If you’re not interested in sports, the city still has plenty to offer. One of the most widely visited attractions is the Museo Egezio or the Egyptian Museum. You should allow at least 2 hours to visit the museum, which has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo!
For those looking for a day spent with some royal flair, visit Palazzo Reale. This palace was erected in 1646 and served as the official royal residence until the mid-1800s. Be sure to allow time to stroll through the gardens.
The easiest way to get to Turin is via train from Milano Centrale to either Torino Porta Nuova or Torino Porta Susa stops. Both are easy walking distance from the city center. Most trains from Milano Centrale will stop at both stations.
A wine lover’s paradise, this is a natural progression from Turin, as most trains from Milan will have a transfer through Turin on your way to Barolo. However, once in Barolo, it’s easier to have a car to get around. So, book a driver before you arrive in town if you plan to enjoy the juice the area is known for (which we recommend). This way, you don’t have to navigate the winding hills, and you can sample as much Italian wine as your heart desires.
Barolo is known as the King of Wines and is often lauded at dinner parties and restaurants. A quick tip is to buy while you’re here tasting wines. You’ll be blown away by how much money you save, even if you pay to have a case shipped home.
In the town, you can visit Barolo Wine Museum and gorgeous churches while also savoring some incredible food. A stop at La Vite Turchese is a must for a wine flight and some shopping.
Verona, the land of Romeo and Juliet, is a perfect day trip from Milan. The train ride is just about an hour and runs past Lake Garda, so the views are something to admire along the way.
Once you arrive, there’s about a 20-minute walk from the train station to the center of town, but it’s really a spectacle to walk up past Porta Nuova, the 16th-century gateway into the city. Then you’ll stroll past Arena di Verona, a 1st-century amphitheater that resembles a smaller version of the Roman Colosseum.
You can’t take a trip to Verona without visiting Juliet’s Balcony. Don’t be scared off by the lines, they move quite quickly. If it’s a hot day, grab a gelato from one of the shops surrounding the entrance. You can simply walk in and take a photo with Juliet’s statue or opt for a tour of the house, where you can profess your love from the balcony.
Verona, like all Italian cities, has great food options, stunning Piazzas, high-end shopping, and museums galore to visit during your day.
Last but certainly not least is Bologna. This is a must-see city that you could easily spend more than a day in. Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and one of the top food destinations in the country.
Some of the most iconic pieces of Italian cuisine, such as Tortellini, Mortadella, Tagliatelle al Ragu, and Balsamic Vinegar, all hail from the area. Lambrusco, a sparkling red Italian wine from the region, is a great pairing for these dishes. If you’re a foodie, start your day with a food walking tour. This is a great way to sample all of the food and get the lay of the land for the rest of the day.
Alternately, plan your own tour by stopping in the markets like Mercato delle Erbe or Mercato di Mezzo and sampling from the different vendors. As you stroll through town, you’re also likely to see some Pasta Grannies hard at work rolling out tortellini. It’s incredible artistry to witness first-hand, and then get to enjoy as you eat it.
Make sure you don’t forget to stroll by La Piccolo Venezia or Little Venice. There are little canals that mimic the iconic city that are a wonderful place for photos.
From Milan, your train ride into Bologna Centrale is just an hour, and trains run frequently, so there are plenty of opportunities to spend the full day in Bologna and eat and drink to your heart’s desire.
Venice, Florence, and Rome are also not to be missed, but you’ll want to do more than day trips from Milan for each of these cities. Plan for at least three days in each to make the most of your time.
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